Whether or not you believe your current aquarium would make an excellent home for betta fish, there are a few things to consider before making a trip to the pet store. Because of its unusual appearance, the betta fish is beloved by many fish enthusiasts, but there is some information about it that most people are unaware of. We will go over the history of these vibrant fish, including how they got their names, their origin, and their breeding habits, so that you can make a more informed decision.
The betta fish’s origins are unknown.
More than 70 different species of betta fish can be found in freshwater environments throughout the Southeast Asian region, and they are all members of the Osphronemidae family. Betta fish are typically found in shallow waters such as swamps, lakes, and slow-moving rivers, where they can thrive. During the flood season, it is not uncommon for rice farmers to see these brightly colored fish swimming around their fields.
The betta fish’s physical appearance
They are quite small, measuring between 2.5 and 3 inches in length, which makes their aggressive behavior all the more surprising given their size. In the wild, males do not develop the eye-catching, vibrantly colored flowing fins that are commonly seen in pet stores and aquarium stores.
When found in their natural environment, betta fish have a dim green coloration and small fins, which they use to attract breeding partners to their spawning grounds. Additionally, they use their fins to ward off predators such as cats, larger fish, and salamanders, among others.
According to the University of Michigan, the spectacular characteristics of the fins, such as their gold, blue, red, and green hues, are the result of selective breeding. The captive males use their fins in the same way that the wild males do, and their bright, powerful colors may be of great assistance to them in their efforts.
How they came up with their moniker
Betta fish are also referred to as Siamese fighting fish, or in Thailand, they are referred to as “pla Kat,” which literally translates to “fighting fish.” The name is apt, as they are excellent fighters. These fish are well-known for their ability to fight back.
Male betta fish will aggressively flare their gill covers and begin nipping at the fins of any other male or female who comes too close to them. If a fight takes place in the wild, it can last for up to 15 minutes before one of the males decides to call it off. In addition, people in Thailand have selectively bred betta fish that are capable of fighting for a few hours at a time. Most Western countries, on the other hand, consider this to be a form of animal cruelty, and they prohibit it.
Betta fish fights are prohibited by law.
Betta fish’s aggressive behavior has been exploited for financial gain, with people wagering on fish fights as a result of their aggressive nature. These traditions date back several centuries, and the fights are similar to cockfights in style. Fish fights are prohibited in the United States, regardless of the species engaged in the fight.
Even placing a mirror next to the aquarium so that the fish believes there is another individual in the aquarium is considered unethical because the fish will continue to act aggressively and hit the aquarium’s walls. Some pet companies, on the other hand, are advertising a’mirror designed to exercise’ so that the betta fish can continue to flex their fins in a spectacular manner.
Breeding behavior is a complex phenomenon.
The betta fish’s reproductive behavior can range from being beautiful to being bizarre. The male begins to blow bubbles in an attempt to attract a potential mating partner. His first action is to take a big gulp of air from the water’s surface before starting to blow out some mucus-covered bubbles that have remained at the water’s surface. This continues for a couple of hours, or until the bubble nest has grown to a sufficient thickness.
Finding a mate is a difficult task.
By flashing his fins and flaring his gill covers, the betta male attempts to entice a female under the nest after he has constructed the bubble layer. If the female is unimpressed and continues to be uncooperative, the male may resort to physical violence. He will begin nipping at her tail and fins until he tears and rips her scales off her body and back.
As soon as the female joins him under the bubble nest, the newly formed couple begins to dance around one another, nudging each other’s sides as they go around and around the nest. At the conclusion of this dance, the male wraps one of his fins around the female’s waist in an embrace, flips her body upside down, and fertilizes her eggs with the other fin.
After completing the fertilization process, he lets go, and the female maintains the belly-up position while releasing a large number of fertilized eggs. In general, she will only release three to seven eggs at a time, depending on the circumstances. With great care, the betta male carefully catches the fertilized eggs in his mouth, covers them with a layer of mucus, and attaches them to the bubble nest in the water.
The method by which the betta male protects the eggs
They continue to perform this dance dozens of times until they have produced several hundreds of eggs that have been fertilized by the fish. Immediately following the completion of the breeding process, the male will aggressively chase away the female and guard the bubble nest until the eggs hatch. In general, this takes between 24 and 48 hours after the event, depending on the environmental circumstances.
In order for the hatchling to finish consuming their yolks, the male will need to care for them for another three or four days after that. Once they are able to swim freely, they are completely on their own for the rest of their lives. After five or six months, the young betta fish will reach sexual maturity and be able to reproduce.
What exactly do they eat?
If you intend to keep a betta fish as a pet, you should become familiar with the fish’s nutritional requirements. They are carnivorous animals, and in the wild, they typically prey on insects that land on the water’s surface or on insect larvae that hatch from the eggs of larger insects.
They are unable to survive on a diet consisting solely of plant roots, in contrast to other fish species. It may be able to keep them alive for a short period of time, but because it lacks the essential nutrients for this species, the fish will become sick and die.
Don’t overindulge them.
The quantity of food is just as important as the composition of the food. If you continue to overfeed the fish, uneaten food and waste material will build up in the aquarium, raising the levels of ammonia and nitrite in the water. The water will become toxic to the fish as a result of this.
What to feed them and when to feed them
The amount of food you should give your betta fish or any other type of fish depends on their size. There is an easy way to figure out how much food you should give them. When you’re feeding them, keep an eye on them for about three minutes. If there are some pieces of food floating around, you may want to consider reducing the amount of food you are giving them to begin with..
It’s possible that the betta fish will become lonely.
It is preferable to purchase more than one betta fish because they may become lonely if they are kept alone.. Researchers believe they may experience frustration and depression as a result of their work. They may be content in a tank on their own if you provide them with an enriching environment that includes caves, plants, and other areas for them to explore.
A friend has been added.
However, if you plan on putting another fish in their aquarium to keep them company, make sure that the fish are compatible with each other first! Whenever the fins of a betta fish are picked by another fish in the same tank, the betta fish experiences a significant amount of stress.
Providing the tank is large enough and contains enough hiding spots, female bettas have a good chance of living in a peaceful community. Betta males may engage in combat with other males or Gourami males (a species with a similar aspect). Non-fish species such as ghost shrimps, snails, and frogs can coexist peacefully with betta fish of any species, including all varieties.
Putting together a proper tank
When planning to set up and maintain a proper aquarium for any type of fish, keep in mind that the process may be more difficult than you anticipate. Generally speaking, people underestimate just how complicated, expensive, and time-consuming this process can be.
If you already have a tank, you can make it even better by including elements that are found in their natural environment. They will be able to enjoy their natural surroundings without becoming frustrated or depressed as a result. As a general rule, no fish should be kept in a tank with a volume of less than 10 gallons, regardless of the species in question.
Betta fish can survive in a 5-gallon tank, but they will not live a happy life in that environment. This is especially true if you plan to add another fish to the tank to keep him or her company.
Use bottled water instead of tap water.
In general, chloramine and chlorine are present in municipal tap water, both of which are toxic to aquatic life. Before adding water, check to see that it has been properly treated with a water conditioner. Install a water filter in the tank and allow it to run for a few weeks before adding the fish to it.
Every week, approximately 10 percent of the total volume of water should be replaced, and waste material from the substrate can be removed with a small gravel vacuum, which can be purchased separately. In order to avoid harming the fish, you can temporarily relocate them to a smaller tank while you’re doing this.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.